By Kenny Rosli on August 15, 2011
As a traveler from Malaysia, somehow, though not so surprising that I always find myself in my neighboring country, Singapore. Be it, for a work meeting, for a weekend shopping trip, celebrating New Year’s Eve, to catch a concert or musical shows, or simply being in transit at Changi Airport.
If 24 hours is all the time you got in Singapore, you’ll have to make the most of your time. Therefore, I came up with a day itinerary with the list of top 10 places where Singaporeans in the know live and play.
If you are like me, enjoy traveling like a local, I suggest you to abandon the boring traditional English or American breakfast from your daily morning routine for a day. Why not take a trip to Little India and breakfast at a vegetarian restaurant called Saravana Bhavan. This restaurant serves out-of-the-world chapatti and thosai breads that are often accompanied with flavorful dips and gravy. To complete the whole experience, a cup of spice-infused massala tea is a must have. This little piece of heaven in a cup beats your Starbuck’s chai latte any day.
Just around the corner, there’s Mustafa Centre. This department store opens 24 hours everyday and caters mainly to the budget market. Mustafa Centre consists of two shopping areas and sells more than 150,000 types of merchandise from accessories, clothing, appliances, hardware, gadgets and a lot more. It’s true what they say, if you can’t find it here, you probably can’t find it anywhere else.11:30 am:
By now, the weather will get a little bit warmer. In fact, certain time of the year it will be sweltering! Hop into one of Singapore’s reliable taxis and make your way to Orchard Road. This shopping district features numerous shopping malls; high ends restaurants, coffee chains, cafés, nightclubs and hotels.
The latest addition to this ever-expanding boulevard is ION Orchard. Giorgio Armani, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, and Cartier are among big labels that call ION home. For art enthusiasts, ION Art showcases unique art pieces from various artists. ION Sky is located on the 55th and 56th floor of the building offering a panoramic view of the city. Give yourself a little treat here.
Your trip is not complete without a quick lunch at Chatterbox restaurant at the Mandarin Hotel in Orchard Road. The well-known dish made famous to foreigners and is known for its excellence. Tasty steamed rice is served with soup and relatively generous portion of chicken meat, sufficiently tender with an appropriate amount of bite.
By now you might be feeling the drowsy after-effects of your hearty lunch. Continue exploring Orchard Road and for all you know it’s already time for tea. TWG Tea Salon & Boutique serves the best macaroon to accompany your Bain de Rose Tea, an exclusive blend based on first flush Darjeeling. This quaint café is indeed one of the best places to escape he hustle and bustle of city and working life in Singapore, even for just a minute.
The temperatures will start to drop around this time it is a perfect time for sightseeing. Take the MRT from Orchard Road and head for Chinatown. The best way to have Singapore Chinatown experience is by touring Chinatown Heritage Centre. It tells a story of the original tenants at 50 Pagoda Street, from the tailor and his apprentices, to the Samsui women and the coolies. This is where you can find the whole entire sets of bedrooms, kitchens and street scenes from the late-19th century and early-20th century have been recreated, close to their glorious original state in the past.
They say Singaporeans national pastime is eating. I can’t disagree with this statement. Everywhere you go in the city, a café or a restaurant even a stall is always in sight. Having Chili Crab for dinner is almost like a routine every time I’m in Singapore. This is the only time I can totally abandon my diet routine for a day. Created in 1950 by Singapore chef, Cher Yam Tian with her husband, Chili Crab can be considered a national delicacy in Singapore. Served soaked in semi-thick, sweet and savory tomato and chili-based sauce, Chili Crab is indeed to die for. Contrasting to its name, Chili Crab is actually isn’t very spicy. It is best accompanied with freshly toasted bun or simply with warm white rice.
Haji Lane located in the Muslim Quarter is often related to Le Marais in Paris, at least that’s how I would describe it. The youngsters frequent this lane for the independent fashion boutiques that spring up constantly making it a paradise for fashion enthusiasts and the Middle Eastern cafes to smoke Shisha. This area is so full of surprises. You will just end up with the quirkiest yet affordable purchase by the end of your visit there.
After freshening up at your hotel for a night in the city, you are now contemplating on the possible happening destinations that you can go. Think no more, Marina Bay Sands Skypark is currently the hottest spot in Singapore. This world’s largest public cantilevered platform on the roof features exclusive entertainment options and restaurants, including ‘The Sky on 57’ and ‘Ku De Ta’ where you can dine and drink while enjoying the breathtaking views of Singapore.
Conclude your night in Singapore in Clark Quay. This is the best place to see Singapore after dark. It offers rows of clubs, bars and restaurants to suit everyone. Another place of recommendation will have to be Movida at St James Power Station for a taste of authentic Latin beats. With its friendly environment and the energetic vibes, you are guaranteed to have a fun night out in Singapore.
By Kenny R.